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Attempting to locate where you are or to determine the best way to reach a destination can be a particularly challenging task - especially if you are unfamiliar with the area and the terrain is rough. A good map can help, however, it can even be difficult to determine where you currently are on the map. GPS is a technology that is ideally suited to both navigation and positioning.

GPS technology originated in the US military. The Defense Department recognized the need to have a precise positioning technology to locate soldiers, vehicles, enemies, and supplies on a battlefield and monitor their movements. The Global Positioning System was developed in response to fulfill this important military need and included a satellite network, ground communications stations, and receivers that cost over $12 billion to build.

On March 29, 1996, President Clinton a Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) that changed the categorization of GPS into an international information utility. The Presidential directive included the following relevant points:

1. The U.S. government will continue to operate, maintain and provide basic GPS signals worldwide, free of direct user fees.

2. The U.S. will advocate the acceptance of GPS and it's augmentations as a standard for use by initiating international discussions in agreement with Japan and Europe.

Currently the Global Positioning system is operated by the military, but is used by both military and commercial users.
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